The History Of Parkway Drive – In Pictures
16 years ago today, Parkway Drive played their first ever show. The Byron Bay bruisers were just a small fish in the BBHC pond, playing to 40-50 people at their local youth centre… who knew they would go on to set fire to every arena on the planet?
To mark this (sort of) anniversary of Parkway Drive, and to get us a even more excited for their headline set at Bloodstock later this year, let’s take a trip down memory lane with the best band to ever come out of Australia who aren’t called AC/DC.
2003: The local youth centre
The Youthy became the home of Byron Bay hardcore and a must-play for any international band wanting to make their mark on the local scene. It might not look like much compared to Parkway’s ambitious set-ups now, but the DIY, lo-fi, just-fucking-play attitude drove the band to work harder and play like their lives depended on it. They also perfected the synchronised guitar jump, as you can see.
“Youthy shows started out strong. 50-100 kids would rock up and we’d go mental,” said frontman Winston McCall in the 10 Years Of Parkway Drive picturebook. “Touring bands would freak that there was a scene in this beach town made up entirely of children! Throwdown from the USA were the first international band to come through and their show was mental. 150 or so kids came from everywhere and we smashed everything. It was sick.”
2005: On tour
2005 was a tumultuous year for Parkway Drive. Not only did they record and release their debut album Killing With A Smile, but they toured their absolute arses off. Heading out early in the year supporting Shadows Fall on their Australian tour, PWD embarked on their own headline run of the country from September to November, before then going out to support Every Time I Die on their Good Music For Bad People Australian tour. They must be knackered.
2006: Official promo photo
A classic in the genre of early band press photos. Shout out to Parkway for repping Bad Religion, new mates Every Time I Die, and Knuckledust, but it does seem like Winston is distracted by something just off camera… probably someone telling him to take his hood down indoors.
2006: On tour/backstage
We’re guessing this is in a dressing room somewhere. You can see the bathroom to the left and lockers behind the band, plus a topless Winston showing off his surfer bod. Again, he is more interested in something happening off-camera. In fact, we’re not entirely sure what’s going on at all, as both Ben and Luke seem to be trying to shake the photographer’s hand.
2006: In London
Following the departure of Shaun Cash, Jia “Pie” O’Connor joined Parkway Drive on bass for their first-ever European tour, including a handful of UK dates in London, York, Swindon, Cardiff, Aberdeen and others. It’s bizarre to think of these guys playing to a couple of hundred people in a box room nowadays, having recently headlined Alexandra Palace, but just look how stoked they are to be stood near Tower Bridge.
2007: Official promo photo
Has anyone seen Winston’s torso? It’s disappeared! Oh no, wait, it’s camouflage. This looks like it’s shot on a on a residential street of the UK – we’re guessing London by the sneaky red bus getting in on the promo action behind the band. Also, it must be winter, hence the rather fetching parkas and band hoodies – including another nod to Bad Religion.
2008: Official promo photo
Leaving the mean streets of Great Britain behind, Parkway Drive head for the long grass and creepy looking trees for their Horizons-era press photo. Sharing the love for Bury Your Dead and Suicide Silence, the band have almost totally embraced the We Don’t Need Black T-Shirts To Prove We’re A Metal Band aesthetic. Horizons broke into Australia’s Top 10 album charts, and spawned the absolute ragers Carrion, Boneyards and Dead Man’s Chest.
2010: Official promo photo
Shot by official Iron Maiden photographer John McMurtrie, Parkway weren’t messing about with their visuals for Deep Blue. The band’s third record cemented PWD as major players in 21st century metal, seemingly coming out of nowhere to those metalheads too preoccupied with what was happening in America. Not only did it break the Top 40 album chart in the United States, but it reached Number Two in their homeland. Who knew beatdowns and riffs were popular?
2012: Official promo photo
Moving inside for their Atlas era press shots, it looks like another chilly day. The coats are out, hoodies are zipped, and Winston is snug inside his Life Long sweatshirt. The moody, grim aesthetic of the picture matches the darkness of the 5K-rated Atlas album, even though Winston is giving us a cheeky grin. The album saw PWD embark on their biggest UK tour to date (well… at that point), culminating at the iconic Roundhouse in London. It was chaos.
2014: Official promo photo
Bored of the same old locations for press shoots, Parkway ditched the brick walls and desolate fields for mountains and stretches of sand. Have you ever seen a band look more ready to go for a BBQ on the beach before unleashing a breakdown so foul it will shred your innards? There’s so much to love here. The flip-flops, the sunglasses, the coordinated Hurley shirts, and Winston refusing to look at the camera yet again. Never change, guys.
2019: Live in Manchester (by Nat Wood)
Off the back of last year’s crushing Reverence album, Parkway returned to the United Kingdom to destroy some of our biggest venues with a metric fuck-ton of fire and flames. Seriously, it was just daft. Walls of fire, flamethrowers, spinning drum kits that shoot fire, Satan knows what else. A landmark tour for one of metal’s most exciting bands, proving that they can roll with the big boys when it comes to a greatest hits set, and put on one of the best metal shows on Earth.
Last year, we managed to cram Parkway Drive in to the K! Pit to play a ballistic show for 50 lucky fans. It kicked off. Check it out below.
Parkway Drive headline Bloodstock festival on August 10. Get your tickets now.
Parkway Drive’s documentary Viva The Underdogs captures the band in all of their fiery, explosive glory, cementing their status as one of metal’s most cherished and successful live forces. Before they could ride this wave, however, frontman Winston McCall reflects on how it used to be wipeout after wipeout…
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